Troubleshooting and Maintaining Furnace and Air Conditioning Units





Try Simple Things To Troubleshoot Before Calling Your Service Technician

your furnace or air conditioning units aren’t working or if you feel that they are not working efficiently you may need to call a technician. before you do that here is a simple checklist of things that you can do to check if there is a simple do-it-yourself fix to resolve the issues. Remember that regular maintenance of your systems will help to prevent the need for a service call and extend the life of your units.

Gas Furnace Equipment Checklist

Our heating units have been running a lot lately. There are still going to be some cold days ahead. If you are experiencing an issue with your heating unit follow this checklist to troubleshoot before you call for a service technician. Performing the simple regular maintenance tasks on the checklist will help maintain your systems and help to prevent the need for a service call and extend the life of your units.

  • Check to make sure that your thermostat is set in the “heat” position.
  • Make sure that the temperature setting on the thermostat is set above (or higher than) the indoor temperature showing on the thermostat.
  • Ensure that there is power to the furnace.
  • Try turning the fan to “ON” using the fan switch on the thermostat to test for power to the furnace.
  • Check the circuit breakers at the electrical panel.
  • Check the SSU switch (it looks like a light switch on a gray box located at the furnace) to be sure it is in the “ON” position.
  • Check to ensure the furnace filter isn’t in need of replacement.
  • All one-inch-thick furnace filters should be replaced monthly.
  • Wider two-inch thick and other high-capacity pleated filters can most likely be changed every other month or just six times per year.
  • If the system is running but you have not changed your filter, the filter needs to be replaced.
  • Check all return air grilles to make sure they are not blocked by furniture.
  • Check all supply air registers to make sure they are open and blowing air. (The return air grilles are normally located on your walls and are wide and flat).
Troubleshooting Your Air Conditioning Unit

Believe it or not, warm weather is on the way. Now is a great time to troubleshoot and perform maintenance tasks on your air conditioning unit. Follow this checklist for simple steps to ensure the unit is functioning at peak efficiency.

  • Check to make sure that your thermostat is set in the “cool” position.
  • Ensure that your outdoor air conditioning (condensing unit) is running.
  • Check the circuit breakers in the circuit breaker box (or electrical panel), most likely mounted to an outside wall in the back of the house. Make sure they are all in the “ON” position.
  • Check the outdoor unit “disconnect switch” to make sure it is in the “ON” position. The disconnect switch is located near the outdoor unit. (Normally a grey 8″ wide x 16″ high x 4″ deep box mounted to the wall).
  • Ensure that the blower motor in your furnace is running. (If the thermostat is in the “cool” position, the furnace blower should be running.)
    If not, check to make sure the on/off switch at the furnace is in the “ON” position.
  • Be sure that you have changed your filter in the furnace recently.
  • An extremely blocked filter can cause your outdoor air conditioner unit to shut down due to a lack of proper airflow.
  • Check all return air grilles to make sure they are not blocked by furniture. Furniture should be moved at least four inches away from return air grilles to allow for adequate air supply.
Remember that SkyTech provides Lifetime Technical Assistance to our clients.

Thank you to Bryant Heating and cooling for this information connect with them at

Pet-Borne Diseases in the Home

We love our pets. They are family members. We often do not realize that every year, tens of thousands of Americans contract diseases from their pets. Combine that with the fact that 85 million U.S. families (or 68% of all households) own at least one pet, and you’ve got a reason to be concerned. Though they are rare, these pet-borne diseases – known as zoonotic diseases – range from salmonella to the plague, and can be contracted directly or indirectly. Luckily, there are simple measures that homeowners can take to ensure their family’s and their pet’s health.


Aquarium fish inhabit their own self-contained spaces and, as such, tend to be safe for the household. But Mycobacterium marinum, a bacterium that causes skin infections in people, still manages to invade the home via contaminated aquarium water. Affected fish may have lesions, scale and fin loss, and/or a lack of appetite, though they do not always exhibit symptoms. When purchasing a new fish, pay careful attention to ensure that your prospective pet inhabits clean, clear water, is energetic, is eating properly, and displays the typical coloring for its species.

Mycobacterium marinum is usually spread to humans through exposure to contaminated water via accidental consumption or an open wound, so cover all wounds when handling the aquarium, and thoroughly wash your hands afterward.


Cats are the second most popular pets in the United States. They can be indoor, indoor-outdoor, or stray. Among the most common diseases transmitted by cats is toxoplasmosis, which is caused by a parasite that infiltrates the cat’s system through the consumption of contaminated raw meat or infected rodents. It can spread to people through the cat’s food or from exposure to the infected cat’s feces.

Healthy people who suffer from toxoplasmosis usually only experience flu-like symptoms. However, those with compromised immune systems can endure confusion and even seizures. Pregnant women are at the greatest risk, which is why they’re discouraged from coming into contact with cat litter boxes. A fetus that contracts the disease during the third trimester may die in utero. Most affected newborns show no symptoms at all but may develop deafness, blindness, and/or mental disorders later in life.

Avoiding the threat of toxoplasmosis is easy, however. You can opt to keep your cat indoors. Regardless of whether you have an indoor or outdoor cat, you should also regularly clean its litter box, ensure that all food (both human and pet) is properly stored, and maintain your home’s cleanliness to keep it pest- and rodent-free.

Cat-scratch disease isn’t quite as easily avoided. It’s caused by Bartonella henselae, a bacterium that 40% of all cats will carry at some point in their lifetime, although kittens are the likeliest carriers. Symptoms in people include infection at the site of a scratch or bite, swollen lymph nodes, fever, headache, lack of appetite, and exhaustion.

The best way to avoid cat-scratch disease is by deterring scratching and biting behavior so that an injury doesn’t happen in the first place. If you wind up getting scratched, disinfect the wound and dress it properly, even if it’s small.

Both MRSA (a type of staph) and hookworm (a parasitic nematode) are passed from animals to humans through direct contact. Your cat can carry MRSA without any symptoms. On the other hand, with hookworm, your cat may suffer anemia, weight loss, and perhaps eventual death if left untreated. Prevention in both cases entails sanitary practices (i.e., the use of gloves when handling feces), keeping your cat indoors, scrutinizing your cat for any observable changes to its health, and scheduling regular visits with the veterinarian.


Last but not least is the family dog. Because of its exercise and toilet requirements, it’s not practical to keep your dog indoors in an attempt to eliminate the risk of their coming into contact with bacteria or parasites. So, there’s no shortage of possible health concerns that must be addressed in order to protect the lives of people and their canine companions.

The best-known threat is rabies, a virus most often passed through bites from infected animals. Symptoms can develop within days or months after the initial exposure. These include fever, nausea, vomiting, difficulty swallowing, excessive salivation, anxiety, confusion, hallucination, and paralysis.

One crucial way to avoid rabies transmission is to supervise your dog when it’s outside. Hunting dogs are particularly vulnerable to rabies exposure by both prey and predators. So, be sure to familiarize yourself with the area around your property, and find out if there are any caves or other natural features that may attract a concentration of wildlife.

Salmonella is another threat, and, oddly enough, you are most likely to be exposed to it through your pet’s food. Both raw and dry pet food can become contaminated, so handle it with care, and ensure that small children do not have access to it.

What It All Means

It goes without saying that this is not an exhaustive list. Efficient and diligent sanitary practices are your first and most effective line of defense against pet-borne parasites and bacteria. Regularly observe and maintain the health of your pets. Wash your hands after handling their food, toileting materials, and their toys and equipment. Maintain the cleanliness of your home by sweeping, vacuuming and wiping down surfaces. And supervise your pet when it’s outdoors.

As is always the case, the start to a healthy home is an attentive and engaged homeowner — especially when that homeowner has a pet.  And don’t forget to contact your InterNACHI®-certified home inspector to get an Annual Home Maintenance Inspection to keep your home safe and in top condition year-round.

Credit: Pet-Borne Diseases in the Home originally posted Posted by InterNachi on by Nick Gromicko, CMI®, Mary Greenway, and Kate Tarasenko view original article